Family Fiestas Literacy Parties Print

Family Fiestas Literacy Parties, a new program developed by Lynden children's librarian Tina Bixby and public services assistant Amelia Martinez is receiving plenty of support and interest...

from local educational and health organizations.  Bixby and Martinez developed the series with partners at the Lynden School District, Sea Mar Clinics, and Whatcom Literacy Council, with initial financial support from the Friends of the Lynden Public Library.

The program runs Tuesdays, November 1 through December 5 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Lynden Public Library.  Family Fiestas Literacy Parties are a series of weekly family literacy workshops for Spanish speaking families with preschool children.  Six free workshops will be presented in Spanish with free Spanish and bilingual children's books, snack, beverages, and craft activities provided.  Everyone in the family can participate.  Registration is not required. 

Union Bank Foundation presentationThe Union Bank Foundation has awarded a $1,000 grant to the program backed by the Friends of the Lynden Public Library. Through its foundation, Union Bank supports the communities it serves through charitable contributions focusing on four targeted areas to improve the quality of life for Pacific Northwest residents:  affordable housing, community economic development, education, and the environment.

“Investing in education in our communities is a priority for Union Bank, and the bank is delighted to partner with the Friends of the Lynden Public Library to further strengthen our relationship with the Lynden community,” said Jerry Kuiken, Vice President and Branch Manager of the Union Bank Lynden Branch. “Being able to read and communicate is the cornerstone to future growth and success for everyone.”

“The library is the natural partner for parents when it comes to helping children get ready to read,” said Bixby. “Family Fiestas Literacy Parties will help Spanish-speaking parents prepare their children to be successful readers.”

The families will learn skills on how to prepare their child for school and increase literacy skills of both the children and the adults. Each workshop will include book sharing, crafts, and socializing with the parent educator, and a free book to take home, focusing on a specific literacy skill, such as alphabet or phonics awareness.

Bixby added that it is especially important that Hispanic children are encouraged to learn early literacy skills to increase their “readiness to read.”  Research has shown that they lag behind their Caucasian peers and are less likely to be enrolled in preschool.  The majority of the children who have trouble learning to read in the early years of school will continue to have difficulty by the 4th grade. However, work on early literacy skills for the whole family can help.

Amelia MartinezAdditional financial support for the Family Fiesta Literacy programs was provided by the Whatcom County Library Foundation, Target, Rader Farms, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, and the Foundation for Early Learning. In total, $8,000 has been raised so far.

For more information about the Family Fiesta Literacy Parties, call Amelia Martinez or Tina Bixby at the Lynden Public Library, 360-305-3600.

[Photo above right: Jerry Kuiken (center), Vice President and Branch Manager of Union Bank’s Lynden Branch, presents a $1,000 check to Sarah Foster (left), Lynden Public Library Manager, and Florie Cox, President of the Friends of the Lynden Public Library.

Photo above left: Amelia Martinez, Public Services Assistant, Lynden Public Library.]